The Supreme Court bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose today asked for details of prisoners who have been released on parole to decongest jails in view of the Covid pandemic as well details on those who died.
The bench also ordered that “competent authorities, the remission Board etc shall continue to proceed with the release of those (prisoners) who are entitled for premature release under the CrPC.”
The bench, as per advice from Amicus, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, directed state governments and Union Territories to file affidavits, indicating the compliance of the courts’ order of May 7 – related to the release of prisoners during the pandemic – giving particulars of the prisoners who have been released on bail in terms of the recommendations of the High Powered Committee (of the court). The court has also asked for details on the total number of Covid patients in jail and the total number deaths in prisons due to Covid19.
The court is hearing a suo motu plea initiated by the court to contain the spread of Covid-19 in prisons.
Today the matter was taken up by the bench on an IA filed by advocate Shoeb Alam to consider the remission plea of prisoners.
Dave said: “On May 7, Milords have virtually continued the previous order. Milords may direct all the state governments on details of the total number of prisoners who have contacted Covid 19 and who have died.
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves said: “There is an IA which claims that remission is at a standstill. It has been filed by a friend of mine.”
The bench said: “The Amicus says that we will call for the information from the states. And we will make a note of the remission in our order. We will asks the state governments to respond. We can say that remission should be considered.”
Alam: “Those prisoners who have not applied for remission should also be considered.”
Gonsalves: “We have two IAs regarding medically terminally ill prisoners.”
The bench said that that can go before the HPC.
Gonsalves: “The other issue is that jails are working short of medical staff.”
Bench: “That is the administrative part.”
Petitioner Varun Kumar: “An IA has been filed for those prisoners who have completed half of their sentences.”
The bench, however, found that only one IA is showing for today, which is the one of Shoeb Alam. The bench said it was not taking any more IAs today and the rest will be taken up on Court opening.
There after the bench issued the order, which also included the following:
“The Order dated 7/05/2021, related to the release of prisoners during the pandemic. There is no mention of release of prisoners for premature release. It is clarified that the competent authorities, the remission Board etc shall continue to proceed with the release of those who are entitled for premature release under the CRPC.”
The order said that all other IAs shall be listed in July.